I remember the day I started high school well. It was a warm September’s day, and I was terrified. A whole group of new people, a maze of buildings to work my way around, and a fresh set of challenges that I’d never faced before.
For the first time in my life, I was the new kid. Was the rest of my class going to like me? Were we going to have anything in common? How much was I going to have to change to adjust to life here? All of these questions raced through my mind, as I walked up the main stairs and into my new life.
Those worries have all faded into distant, fuzzy memories now. What I remember most clearly is something our teacher said to us that day.
“Do well at school,” he told us. “Try your best at all your subjects. But especially at languages. I just came back from a holiday with a friend who speaks three languages, and it was amazing. I wish I’d tried harder at languages when I was your age.”
I remember this for several reasons.
Firstly where I grew up in the UK, it’s unusual to speak more than one language. Stories of people who could speak three were like sightings of UFOs. My teacher’s friend had inspired me.
But secondly, I wondered why my teacher had given up. Why was he suddenly too old to learn a language? Had he even tried?
He told me it’s easier when you’re younger. Adults have a lot harder time learning a language than kids. His language learning “window of opportunity” had passed, and he regretted not making better use of it.
But was that really true?
After a lifetime of learning languages, I can’t say there has ever been an ‘easy period’. It never just ‘came to me’ like everybody described, and it certainly had nothing to do with my age. When I first started learning languages it was a struggle. But through practice and by sticking to it, I got better at it.
Until the age of 22 I didn’t speak a word of Hungarian. A year of study later, and I spoke it fluently. But how?
Before you learn a language, you have to learn how to learn a language. This is a very personal experience, and what works for you is not necessarily the same as what works for other people.
Over the last year, Richard Simcott and I have helped over 500 people in nearly 10 different countries to learn languages better through the Polyglot Workshops. We’ve helped people aged from 10-70 learning languages like French and even Indonesian to find out what works for them.
Our lifetime of experience, in which we’ve studied over 50 languages between us, can help you learn to learn better. Because we’ve worked with people learning languages across the entire world, we know there’s no such thing as someone who “can” or “can’t” learn languages. There are just people who know how, and those who haven’t quite found their rhythm yet.
- How to set realistic goals that you can work towards on your way to fluency
- How to manage your time to make sure you always fit in language study
- The perfect way to learn vocabulary and really make it stick
- How to speak with more confidence and fluency
Our next events will be held in:
Valencia, Spain | 30th January 2016
London, UK | 27th and 28th February 2016
Or… Join us online! Programme starts 4th January 2016
There are just a limited number of tickets available to this exclusive event, so book now to secure your place! Once we’ve sold out, I’m afraid we can’t make any exceptions.